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Colon, Rectal & Anal Cancer

Comprehensive Colorectal Cancer Care

If you have been diagnosed with colon, rectal, or anal cancer, it’s important to know that there’s hope. Colorectal and anal cancer detected in their early stages have an 80 - 90% chance of restoration to normal health after treatment. Your individualized treatment plan will depend on your general health, where your tumor is located, and the stage your cancer has reached. For compassionate, leading-edge colorectal and anal cancer care, you are in the best possible hands at Rochester Regional Health.

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What is Colorectal Cancer?

Colon and rectal cancers are often combined as one cancer–colorectal cancer. Colon cancer is a cancer type that begins in your colon (large intestine), which is the final part of your digestive tract. Typically, colon cancer affects older adults and begins as small, benign (noncancerous) clumps of cells called polyps that form on the inside of your colon. These polyps can become colon cancers.

Rectal cancer is a cancer type that begins in your rectum, the final few inches of your large intestine. The rectum begins at the end of the final segment of your colon and ends when it reaches the short passage leading to your anus.

Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal polyps may be small and produce few if any, symptoms. Regular screening tests are important to help prevent colon cancer by identifying and removing any polyps before they become cancerous.

Signs and symptoms of colon & rectal cancers include:

  • A feeling that your bowel isn’t empty
  • A persistent change in bowel habits (diarrhea, constipation, or a change in stool consistency)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bright red or maroon blood in your stool
  • Persistent abdominal discomfort (gas, cramps, or pain)
  • Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Weakness or fatigue

Few people with colorectal cancer experience symptoms in the early stages of the disease. When symptoms do appear, they’ll vary based on your cancer’s size and its location in your large intestine. If you notice any continuing symptoms that worry you, please schedule a consultation with your colorectal provider.

If your polyps develop into cancer, many treatments exist to help control and treat it, including surgery, radiation therapy, and drug treatments like immunotherapy and chemotherapy.

Eating a healthy diet, exercising most days of the weak, and enjoying alcohol in moderation can help you prevent and/or lower your risk of colorectal cancer.

Your colorectal surgeon will determine which type of colon, rectal, or anal surgery is right for you.

What is Anal Cancer?

Anal cancer is an uncommon cancer type found in your anal canal, a short tube at the end of your rectum through which stool leaves your body. Anal cancer is typically treated with a combination of radiation and chemotherapy, which increases your chance of a cure.

Symptoms of Anal Cancer

Anal cancer commonly causes symptoms like anal pain and rectal bleeding. Additional symptoms include:

  • A mass or growth in your anal canal
  • Anal itching
  • Bleeding from the rectum or anus
  • Pain in the anus

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please schedule an appointment with your colorectal surgeon.

Colon, Rectal, and Anal Cancer Treatment

A colon, rectal, or anal cancer diagnosis is not the end - there is hope, especially in the expert hands of Rochester Regional Health’s experienced team. Your unique, personalized treatment plan will depend on factors such as your general health, the location of your tumor, and the stage cancer has reached, which we will determine based on the following questions:

  1. How extensive is the growth of the tumor?
  2. Has the tumor spread through the colon wall?
  3. Are any lymph nodes near the tumor involved?
  4. Has your cancer spread to other parts of the body?

In most cases of colon and rectal cancer, surgery is necessary to remove the portion of the colon that contains the tumor and any nearby tissue. Depending on your cancer, we may also recommend radiation and chemotherapy, or a combination of both, in addition to surgery.

Most anal cancers can be treated with a combination of chemotherapy and radiation without surgery. We often reserve surgery for advanced cancers or anal cancers that have not responded to chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

If your condition requires surgery, our team will use the most advanced minimally invasive (laparoscopic) and robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgical techniques to treat you whenever possible. Robotic surgery allows us to perform precise, minimally invasive surgery (MIS) to improve your healing and promote well-being.

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Colorectal Cancer Screening

Colon, rectal and anal cancers are preventable, and with early detection, have a high survival and cure rate. Take our Colorectal Cancer Screening Quiz to see if you may be at risk for colon, rectal, or anal cancer, and get an appointment on your calendar today.

Take our Colorectal Screening Quiz
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Quality Matters

Offering robotic and traditional surgery for both complex and routine colon and rectal concerns, the Colorectal Surgery team at Rochester Regional Health gives colorectal patients access to leading specialists conveniently located throughout Western New York.
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